I've got your missing links right here (4 November 2011)

By Ed Yong | November 5, 2011 12:00 pm

Top picks

I’ve started a new Tumblr blog called Nature Wants to Eat You: a celebration of the animal kingdom’s terrifying mouths, jaws, teeth and tongues.

A truly superb comic on depression

Modern journalism involves long, complex stories that require flexible reporting, says Emily Bell, citing Occupy Wall Street as an example.

A masterful summary of Ben Goldacre’s eight years of writing Bad Science. Much to like, but particularly: “People who don’t understand science can only critique in terms of motive. Let them have that; we’ll do the details.” Also good to know that Goldacre is writing a book on evidence misuse by pharma.

With Vaccines, Bill Gates Changes The World Again – a great feature by Matthew Herper

Two women in a canoe happen upon a flock of starlings. Incredible video ensues.

Unfeasibly, the Toxoplasma story gets more mental with every new paper. And Carl Zimmer is there to chronicle it all.

What does it mean to be a science journalist? A great, thoughtful piece from Marie-Claire Shanahan.

Research into a male birth control pill involves 50 yrs, vitamin A, booze & many bad jokes. Also, the potential compound is called “Win”. By Virginia Hughes.

There is LOTS to love about Nature’s autism special this week.

Fly On Wall Sees Things It Wishes It Hadn’t, by Rob Dunn

From Big Bangs to God Particles – why science depends on good branding, by John Pavlus.

A series of incredible paper sculptures were left anonymously at a Scottish library.

An epic piece of editing: Four Ways Men Stunt Women’s Careers Unintentionally

“Why Is This Cargo Container Emitting So Much Radiation?” A great Wired story.

How walking through a doorway increases forgetting, by Christian Jarrett.

The case of Diederik Stapel – Dutch psychologist who faked much of his data – just gets worse. Thirty-plus papers included fraud. “Many of Stapel’s students graduated without having ever run an experiment. Meanwhile, The Washington Post has the best headline. And the Neuroskeptic asks “Whose job is it to catch scientific fraud?” At the moment it’s up to heroic individuals.

I’ve been waiting for something like this – big blow-by-blow feature on Fukushima’s first 24 hrs, by Eliza Strickland.

The evolution of overconfidence, explained via Jersey Shore and a bottle of Jagermeister, by Scicurious

A great piece on Carl Gustafson, an archeologist whose claim of a pre-Clovis mastodon kill was rejected until now.

“The anthrax vaccine is a truly bad idea”, says Prof who sequenced anthrax in 2001 attacks.

Judith Curry Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot: a superb takedown, regarding BEST and the statistics of recent “lack of global warming

Alternative literature“. Wonderful. Don’t miss the alt-text.

Science/news/writing

Does inequality make us unhappy?

This BBC response to Ben Goldacre’s piece is disappointing. Appeal to authority + willful ignorance.

Great Scientific American feature on the genetically sterilized mosquitoes that were secretly released

Gary Stix compares a study on Facebook & brain areas with a new monkey paper on something similar

Which Ancient Megafauna Did We Wipe Out?

A seriously depressing look at why science majors (really quite a lot of science majors) change their minds.

Visa wants to make money from your DNA.

Fake astronauts return to real Earth after fake trip to fake Mars. I would LOVE it if they stepped out of their fake spaceship, looked around, went “Oh screw this” and went back in.

9 equations true geeks should know: a good read even if, like me, equations make you cry

This. Is. F**ked. Up. Antivaxxers trading pathogens in the post. They are essentially bioterrorists.

A brief guide to embodied cognition.

A great explanation of why quakes in east US are felt further afield than in west.

Delta Airlines shows you an anti-vaccine ad while you ride an enclosed vector.

Hey, Alex Wild made a science e-book for kids: Insects!

We’re building a laser powerful enough to tear apart the fabric of space. Oh good.

This vampire bacteria slurps out its prey’s insides. Could it become a living antibiotic?

Good evidence for sperm whale culture

Psychologists talk about how science has helped them

A fascinating crowd-funded project to use ancient DNA to study the Roman Empire’s 99%.

A “treatment of last resort”: fecal transplants to cure C.diff infections

Sabre-toothed “squirrel” is not a squirrel. Well done to Alok Jha at the Guardian for not rising to it.

When Brits frack, the ground moves. Or something. How fracking caused earthquakes in the UK

Here’s a SciFund project we can all get behind: scientist wants to study zombifying fish parasites. Go support her.

Scientists name quartet of gang-banging dolphins “The Beatles”.

A Yawning Divide? Contagious Yawning and Empathy in Animals

Echinoblog answers starfish questions from a 6th grader

“Fewer than 10 people have published studies on jump ropes.” All assumed jumping in a vacuum.

Spiders Seek Balance of Work and (Fore)play

Are atrocities inevitable in war? An RCT showing ethics training for soldiers helps

People are still dying of cholera in Haiti. Vaccines on the way, but they won’t be a panacea.

Gosh, that’s one enormous crack. NYC-sized iceberg about to break off.

An intimate relationships between orchids and bees turns out to be pretty one-sided

HSA: a human blood protein with high demand, low supply. Solution: stick it in rice

The lab rat you’ve never heard of

Eyes reveal true hypnotic state for the first time

This is a great idea: The Google of Negative Results

“There is more than one way to be smart.”

Carl Zimmer tells a very personal story about becoming a science writer & parasite aficionado

Real Life Werewolves? Dog Bites and Full Moons

Chemistry Teacher Shows Students The Exploding Pumpkin Trick

Synthetic blood could arrive before 2015

Brain’s DNA changes over our lifetimes: fascinating, but what does it mean?

The parasite that feeds on tick antifreeze.

Toxic Pufferfish Invade Eastern Mediterranean, Killing People and Irking Fisherman

Company tries to patent the process of scientific discovery itself.

Pregnant women can stop themselves from giving birth on Halloween

Will selling cigarettes in plain packaging make a difference? Yes, and here’s the evidence.

Prehistoric zombie worms. More fossil evidence that worms feasted on whale falls a long, long time ago.

Prince of Wales’ power over public legislation- this would be disturbing enough if it wasn’t Charles. As it is…

fMRI has gone past its troubled teens and is now looking to settle down.

“I reviewed this paper and found significant flaws in statistical methods”: A case of failed peer review

Behind the scenes stories from director Vanessa Berlowitz on how the Frozen Planet aerial shots were done.

Believing a sound is part of music (even nails on a chalkboard!) makes it less bothersome

 

Heh/wow/huh

Could a single Marine unit bring down the Roman Empire?

The more explosions a film contains, the more it takes at the box office

Strong leading contender for Headline of the Month

Oh dear. Fake Onion story requires real press release

Why the Irish elk became extinct

Gecko-tank-robot climbs up walls, comes for your children.

Octopi Wall Street

The image that accompanies this piece is inspired.

Could the Enterprise beam a vampire into a house he didn’t have permission to enter?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the best pet Halloween costume of all time.

Angry Bird: seagull takes on eagle

Diane Kelly needs your money “to measure the speed and force of the inflating duck penis“.

Ha! If you type illuminati backwards into your browser and add “.com”, it takes you to the NSA site.

Two whales gulp next to female surfer

 

Journalism/internet/society

Sharp analysis from Emily Bell on Google’s move to link Google News to journalists’ G+ profiles. Meanwhile, Megan Garber aces my feelings: “Transparency, hooray! Still, there’s something just slightly ominous in all this.”

Why Johnny Can’t Search” – on the need to train students to be critical search-engine users

A truly troubling post about the sheer nastiness directed against female bloggers

The bit in this CJR editorial on “support through criticism” applies to science writing. Science communication isn’t just happy, fluffy, isn’t-science-great pieces. Critical analysis is part of it too.

Twitter Stories: a great idea from Twitter

Findings: a new Twitter-like service for sharing longreads, by Steven Johnson

Infographic: If 7 Billion People Lived in One City, How Big Would It Be?

Everyone knows that ghosts say “boo” but when did they first start using that scary word?

Anatomy of Twitter regional slang

Why the Daily Mail is the UK’s most widely read piece of fiction. More horrific practice.

Untangling the Web: death and the internet

 

 

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Links

Comments (4)

  1. G

    Science majors and changing major/dropping out: they REALLY need to look into burnout.

    The best prepared kids, the ones who scored ultra-high on standardized tests, who took all the college-level courses, who scored the highest? These kids are *tired*. They’ve already spent years taking college equivalent courses. The class experience itself is, in fact, *easier* than high school; you’re taking fewer classes, the courses are shorter duration so the start-to-finish is a lot easier to encompass. And wonder of wonders, you can use whatever kind of studying suits you best, while excessive “busywork” is mainly a thing of the past. But all those years as a teen spent driving so hard to get INTO college, well. You’re just…so…tired… that it’s hard to care anymore about any motivation for learning.

    Kids from intense college-prep high schools have been working *too* hard by the time they make it into the science programs at the top schools. It’s incredibly hard, at that point, to look forward to years of “more of the same”–even when it’s noticeably easier than your last couple of years of high school.

  2. That starling video is amazing. The science behind how they flock is, I find, equally fascinating.
    http://charles-harvey.co.uk/the-dance-of-the-starlings/

  3. Speaking of troubling…

    I bookmarked the “truly troubling post about the sheer nastiness directed against female bloggers” so that I could read it more thoroughly later, and at the time there was no problem with the page.

    Just now, however, I clicked on my bookmark and am confronted with one of those warnings that say, “This web page at http://www.newstatesman.com has been reported as an attack page and has been blocked based on your security preferences.

    Visiting http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/ also triggers the warning, so the problem is not just with that one article (one very nasty thought falsified).

    I’m going to leave it alone for now, in case the site has indeed been hacked or something, but would still like to read it properly sometime. Some sort of ‘all clear’ message would be appreciated. :-)

    P.S. Some of the items in this linkfest don’t actually have any links in them. Sterilized mosquitos; antivaxxers trading pathogens; quakes in east US; exploding pumpkin; I think that’s all.

  4. Daniel J. Andrews

    Adrian…the page came up for me just now (Nov 7, 4:10 UT).

    It is very disturbing that there are people like that out there (the hate commenters, that is). Maybe we can isolate them on their own little internet and they can all sit around in their underpants ranting, frothing and mashing their keyboards at each other while the grown-ups have real discussions. They seem to be angry impotent sad little men who feel they’re not in control of their life—which makes me realize this is the same description of many people who gravitate into positions of ‘power’ in their local club and then begin to act as unreasonable little tyrants to compensate for their perceived impotence in life in general. I can totally see some of the people I’m familiar with having spittle-flecked computer screens.

    Re: whales feeding. After that, I wouldn’t be sitting there…I’d be heading for shallower waters…I’m already nervous when I kayak in the ocean (might have something to do with that big whirlpool that opened up under my kayak while on a group tour around the west coast of Vancouver Island…that went from “cool” to “oh-oh” to “oh *#@!” really fast), and I do worry about getting tossed accidentally out of the kayak by an orca or whale and getting sucked down by a vortex, both whale- and tide-induced ones.

    Re: Fake Onion story. Fox news got fooled by on Onion story. I just went to Google it to refresh my memory, and see Fox News gets fooled by a number of fake stories. Of course, many people are fooled by the Onion–these are probably the same people who think Fox provides real news.

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